Happy Hispanic Heritage Month! For those who don’t know, this month the U.S. is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, a tradition that dates more than 52 years. The celebration is meant to commemorate Hispanic immigrants’ contributions to the U.S., as well as the cultural impact they have had on the country.
This year, however, it has looked a bit different because of the pandemic. Nevertheless, many have still found a way to commemorate the importance of Hispanic people in the community. Here is a look at the history and celebration of the emblematic month:
History of the Hispanic Heritage Month
Hispanic Heritage Month actually as a week of commemoration back in 1968, when then-president Lyndon Johnson wrote it into law. It was 20 years later that President Richard Nixon extended the week-long celebration into a month.
“One of America’s great strengths is her diversity,” Nixon said during its inauguration. “A wide variety of peoples have made contributions to our nation; each has added its own strength and charm to American life, and each provides an ongoing link between our culture and those of other countries around the world.”
Ever since then, the U.S. has celebrated the month in various ways, each president giving it a different touch. Celebrated from Sept 15 to Oct 15, the timing of Hispanic Heritage Month coincides with the Independence Day celebrations of several Latin American nations, including Mexico, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.
How you can celebrate
“During National Hispanic Heritage Month, we celebrate the countless contributions of more than 60 million Hispanic Americans to our culture and society. Hispanic Americans are the largest minority group in the United States today, and generations of Hispanic Americans have consistently helped make our country strong and prosperous. They contribute to our Nation beyond description.”
In other years, there were often concerts and parades that celebrated the Hispanic culture, but because of the pandemic, those events are scarce this year.
However, this weekend, for instance, Puerto Rican artist Bad Bunny headlined a social-distancing safe concert on a bus in New York as part of the celebration. Similarly, many companies are now taking to social media to make up for the in person celebrations that the pandemic has prevented from happening.
If you are Hispanic, there is often no better way of celebrating than to share your own culture with the rest of the world. Be it through social media posts, or simply by telling your friends about your heritage, educating people about our history remains one of the best ways to honor our culture.
And, while on the topic of history, if you are feeling a bit rusty on your Hispanic history, now it’s a great time to dust off some books and learn! There are many resources online that make the learning very easy (and fun!). Some are the Latino Center, the Smithsonian American Art Museum and, if you are looking to see a movie instead, try the AFI Silver Theatre‘s recommendations during its Latin American Film Festival.
Additionally, supporting Hispanic businesses is a great way to honor this celebration, especially during these times. Sites like HispanicYa! can help you find locally-owned Hispanic businesses in your area.
Finally, for those who can vote in November, making an informed choice on who will be the right fit for the Hispanic community is also crucial.